Andrea Stewart-Cousins

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Andrea Stewart-Cousins
Andrea Stewart-Cousins 2013.jpg
Temporary President and Majority Leader of the New York Senate
Assumed office
January 9, 2019
DeputyMike Gianaris
Preceded byJohn J. Flanagan
Minority Leader of the New York Senate
In office
December 17, 2012 – January 2, 2019
DeputyMike Gianaris
Jeffrey D. Klein
Preceded byJohn L. Sampson
Succeeded byJohn J. Flanagan
Member of the New York Senate
from the 35th district
Assumed office
January 1, 2007
Preceded byNicholas Spano
Personal details
Born (1950-09-02) September 2, 1950 (age 68)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
EducationPace University (BA, MPA)
City University of New York, Lehman

Andrea Stewart-Cousins (born September 2, 1950) is an American politician and educator from Yonkers, New York. A member of the Democratic Party, Stewart-Cousins represents District 35 in the New York State Senate. She serves as the body's Majority Leader and Temporary President.[1] Stewart-Cousins is the first woman in the history of New York State to lead a conference in the New York State Legislature[2][3] and is also the first female Senate Majority Leader in New York history.[1]

Stewart-Cousins was first elected to the New York State Senate in 2006.[4] Prior to her Senate service, Stewart-Cousins was a Westchester County Legislator from 1996 to 2006. In 2012, she was chosen by her colleagues to lead the Senate Democratic Conference.[5] After the Democratic Party won an outright Senate majority in the 2018 elections, Stewart-Cousins became Majority Leader in January 2019.[1]

Early life, education, early career, and family[edit]

Stewart-Cousins was born in 1951 in Yonkers, New York. She earned her Bachelor of Science Degree from Pace University and her teaching credentials in Business Education from Lehman College.[6] She received her Masters of Public Administration from Pace University in May 2008 and is a member of Pi Alpha Alpha, the public administration honor society. She spent twenty years in the private sector, including thirteen years in sales and marketing with New York Telephone, later known as AT&T.[7] She also pursued a career in journalism and teaching before entering public service.[8]

Stewart-Cousins's public service career began in 1992, when she was appointed as the Director of Community Affairs in the City of Yonkers.[9] There she created an internship program for the hearing-impaired and for children in working families. She also advocated for and contributed to the revitalization of the City of Yonkers and was a founder of the original "Art on Main Street," as well as a co-creator of "River Fest", which for more than 20 years has been a widely attended multi-cultural citywide celebration on the Hudson River in Yonkers.[10]

Stewart-Cousins was married to the late Thomas Cousins. She has three children and four grandchildren.[11]

Westchester County Legislator[edit]

Prior to her election to the New York State Senate in 2006, Stewart-Cousins served for a decade as a Westchester County Legislator representing Yonkers. During her tenure, she was elected Majority Whip and Vice-Chair, and she authored and passed living wage laws, smoke-free workplace laws, tougher gun laws, laws that prosecute "predatory lenders", laws that have provided tax cuts for seniors and veterans, and Westchester County's first human rights laws.[12]

New York State Senator[edit]

Stewart-Cousins first ran for New York State Senate in 2004, but was defeated by 18 votes by incumbent Republican Sen. Nicholas Spano.[13] In 2006, she challenged Spano again and defeated him.[14] As of 2019, Senate District 35 includes all of Greenburgh and Scarsdale and portions of Yonkers, White Plains and New Rochelle.[15]

Stewart-Cousins voted in favor of same-sex marriage legislation on December 2, 2009, but the bill was defeated.[16] A same-sex marriage law was eventually passed in 2011. Stewart-Cousins is a vocal supporter of abortion rights, and has pushed for legislation to expand abortion access in the State of New York.[17]

On April 17, 2010, it was reported that Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) was under consideration by then-gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo to be his running mate, but he chose Bob Duffy instead.[18]

In December 2012, Senate Democrats elected Stewart-Cousins as Senate Democratic Leader.[19] Stewart-Cousins became the first woman in history to lead a conference in the New York State Legislature.[2][3] The Democratic Party won a Senate majority in the 2018 elections. On January 9, 2019, Stewart-Cousins was elected Senate Majority Leader. She is the first female Senate Majority Leader in New York history.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Precious, Tom (January 9, 2018). "After 242 years, a woman is in charge of the State Senate". Buffalo News. Retrieved January 10, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Joseph Spector (November 26, 2018). "Andrea Stewart-Cousins makes history as first woman Senate leader". Retrieved November 27, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Carl Campanile, Bruce Golding (November 25, 2018). "'A historic moment': First woman to be picked as NY state Senate majority leader". Retrieved November 27, 2018.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  4. ^ "Our Campaigns - NY State Senate 35 Race - Nov 07, 2006". Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  5. ^ "Democratic Senators Embrace Andrea Stewart-Cousins as Their New Leader". Observer. December 18, 2012. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  6. ^ ""Daily Voice" featured Pace University's double alumna Andrea Stewart-Cousins of Westchester in "Stewart-Cousins' Elevation As NY's First Female Majority Leader Lauded By Cuomo, Pace President" | PACE UNIVERSITY". Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  7. ^ "Next likely NY Senate leader: LI helped Dems win". Newsday. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  8. ^ d_evers (September 17, 2018). "She waited. Will good things come to Andrea Stewart-Cousins?". CSNY. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  9. ^ "Andrea Stewart-Cousins". Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  10. ^ Samin, Suzanne. "Riverfest Celebrates 21st Birthday in Yonkers". Yonkers Daily Voice. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
  11. ^ "Stewart-Cousins Poised To Make History As Democrats Take Over State Senate". Yonkers Daily Voice. November 13, 2018.
  12. ^ "Andrea Stewart-Cousins re-elected, likely to be leader of New York State Senate". Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  13. ^ Foderaro, Lisa W. (February 9, 2005). "In State Senate Marathon, Incumbent Wins" – via
  14. ^ Wilson, David McKay. "Five things to know about state Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins".
  15. ^ "About Andrea Stewart-Cousins". NY State Senate.
  16. ^ "How the Votes Were Cast - The New York Times". December 2, 2009. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
  17. ^ "On abortion, Stewart-Cousins accuses Senate of 'slumbering'". May 5, 2015. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
  18. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 6, 2014. Retrieved May 10, 2010.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  19. ^ "Moving on from Sampson, State Senate Democrats elect Andrea Stewart-Cousins". December 17, 2012. Retrieved January 4, 2019.

External links[edit]

New York State Senate
Preceded by
Nicholas Spano
Member of the New York Senate
from the 35th district

Preceded by
Betty Little
Chair of the New York Senate Local Governments Committee
Succeeded by
Jack Martins
Preceded by
John L. Sampson
Minority Leader of the New York Senate
Succeeded by
John J. Flanagan
Preceded by
John J. Flanagan
Temporary President and Majority Leader of the New York Senate